The Q&A Archives: Four Leaf Clover With Red Flowers?

Question: Several years ago I purchased a garden collection which included several kinds of perennials and bulbs. One of the types of flowers looked like a clump of four leaf clovers. The leaves were clumped together with a green stem coming up with a delicate dark pink flower hanging from it. I've tried to explain this flower to my gardening friends and the closest I could come to the looks was a coral bell. But, from what I could tell from the picture, I don't believe it is the same flower. The leaves were in a clump with one flower growing. The leaves are definitely like a four leaf clover because my husband always wanted to pull them up because he thought they were clover! Any ideas of what this may be? I would like to find this flower again to plant in my garden. Thank you so much!

Answer: Around St. Patrick's Day nurseries and florists sell 'Shamrocks'. These are either Medicago lupulina (hop clover, trefoil or black medick), or Oxalis acetosella (woodsorrel), or Trifolium repens. The first group are annuals, the woodsorrel and clover are perennials. To keep the perennials growing, provide a sunny window or a sunny spot outdoors, and moist, well-draining soil. It's natural for the leaves of the plant to fold up at night and open during the day. You can expect the stems to grow from 2" - 10" high, with flowers to 1" across. The perennial plants will spread by underground roots and form large clumps as they mature.

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